MORE than u1 million in awards was authorised last year by the Solicitors Benevolent Association, for the first time in its 138-year history.
The association, which offers financial assistance to English and Welsh solicitors and their dependants, has also recorded a deficit of u50,000 for 1994.
Association secretary Commander Nick Lorimer says the awards consist of outright grants and interest-free loans to the SBA's 550 current beneficiaries.
The SBA is funded by subscriptions, investments and legacies, and Lorimer says the money is often used “to supplement rather inadequate levels of state funding”.
He says the award figure has grown steadily in recent times, but is likely to remain at the u1 million mark for several years.
“I would think it's likely to be pretty level for a while,” says Lorimer. “I would hope it won't keep on going up.
“In part this has happened because people in the profession are having a very hard time and so some of them are not secure financially.”